China’s Attempt to Convert its U.S. Treasury holdings into euros

As I discussed previously, the Chinese currency wild-card may become relevant far sooner than expected. An effort by China to convert its $1.4 trillion U.S. Treasury holdings into euros is not viable for many reasons — not the least of which is the European Central Bank’s inability to absorb such an event. As China continues its rush away from supporting U.S. Treasuries and as Middle Eastern investors are buying them up in more diversified holdings, a new “currency exchange” is unfolding. Realizing that they cannot liquidate their holdings, it appears that the Chinese are currently using their U.S. Treasury holdings as collateral for euro denominated purchases and long term infrastructure transactions. In other words, they may be “liquidating” their holdings as collateral and, in so doing, effectively migrating to non-dollar value without ever having to officially dump their current Treasury holdings.

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